A Celebration of African American Contributions to Shakespeare

Remembering some powerful performances.
Artwork by Main Street Theater
Remembering some powerful performances.

It's a celebration of the contributions made by African American actors in history to Shakespeare's plays. In a special partnership between Main Street Theater, known for its children's programming, and the Harris County Public Library, actors will share stories, speeches and scenes from Shakespeare at five branch libraries in February.

In recognition of Black History Month as well as the knowledge that not all communities have ready access to performances of Shakespeare, the sessions will be free and open to the public. The actors are members of Main Street Theater's Shakespeare For All program.

According to a press release from Main Street Theater:

"While many African Americans of yesteryear such as Louis Armstrong, Langston Hughes, and Hattie McDaniel are well known for contributions to America’s art scene, fewer people know about the great black Shakespearian actors of early America. Figures such as Ira Aldridge, Henrietta Vinton Davis, and Paul Robeson may not be household names, but they enthralled audiences with their truth, dignity, and passion as they embodied characters such as Hamlet, Juliet, Lady Macbeth, and Othello. In this one-of-a-kind reading, actors from Main Street Theater’s Shakespeare for All program will share historic accounts, stories, and, of course, scenes and speeches from Shakespeare in an interactive, audience-friendly presentation that reminds us that Shakespeare is, indeed, for ALL."

Here's the schedule:

February 13 at 6:30 p.m Katherine Tyra Branch Library, 16719 Clay
February 15 at 3 p.m. Maud Smith Marks Library, 1815 Westgreen, Katy

February 18 at 11 a.m. Evelyn Meador Library, 2400 N. Meyer, Seabrook

(New) February 21 at 7 p.m. Barbara Bush Branch Library, 6817 Cypresswood, Spring

February 23 at 2 p.m. Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale